Success means… helping make someone else’s dream come true!
Three adjectives that deserve me are... hard-working, happy, and loyal.
You can’t run a business without… the support of amazing family and friends.
In the next 10 years I will be… trying something new – I just can’t stop working!!
I’m the Founder + CEO of PieShell, a crowdfunding site for food- and beverage-focused entrepreneurs. We help companies at any stage of development crowd“market” their business, get vital proof of concept, and raise much needed funding from supporters of their product or service. Food crowdfunding is so much more about the supportive community and less about the pre-sale of a product. We are so excited to help amazing companies that dare to dream the big dream of starting their own business, be more successful!
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
Is having your own business something you always wanted to have? Until I started PieShell, I actually didn’t realize that I was an entrepreneur. I always thought I was just crazy! I had been an independent consultant for years, so I was already my own boss, but that wasn’t enough for me. Every day, it seemed like millions of ideas would run through my mind, but I didn’t realize that that was because I have the mind of an entrepreneur! Now I know better and I embrace that side of me, jumping in with both feet.
How did you come up with your business idea? What inspired you?
A girlfriend of mine had passed away 6 months prior in a freak accident, and one day I looked at my husband and said, “I don’t want to die with any regrets.” I was an independent Senior SAP Program Manager consultant and very good at what I did, but I didn’t feel that I really made a difference in the world. I knew and loved crowdfunding, and my Mom had been a food entrepreneur herself, and so the two came together perfectly. I knew I could help food startups be more successful with their crowdfunding campaigns, and help them and their businesses make it even one more day in startupland.
How do you generate new ideas to stay relevant on the market? Is it important to innovate in your space?
Innovating, or the all-too-commonly-used word, “pivoting,” is critical in startupland. You, of course, think you have the best idea ever, but you need to really listen to what your customers need to be successful, not what you want them to have. The best way for us to do that is to admit what we know and, even more importantly, admit what we don’t know. You have to really listen to experts in those areas and take their ideas on board. We are excited to be in such a new and emerging space, and to be a part of defining what it will be in the future.
What is your greatest fear? How do you manage it?
Failing. Not myself, but all the people that believe in me. From the companies that use our platform to the investors that believe in us, I don’t want to let any of them down. When I launched PieShell, I had an MVP – Most Valuable People! – party. Be it colleagues that had provided critical advice, or friends I had blown off to work on my dream, I knew I hadn’t gotten here alone, and so the MVP allowed me to thank them so much for what they had done for PieShell and for me personally.
Did you have to fire someone before? What’s the best way to go about it?
I just had to let go our PR + Digital Strategy Manager, and it was gut-wrenching. I cried after he had left, as I understood that was someone’s life I was messing with, but I’m running a business, and it simply wasn’t the right fit. At this early stage, it was immediately apparent that they didn’t have the right attitude to be with PieShell. I never want firing someone to be easy. They are a human being, and I am upsetting their life, but if you do it with empathy and respect, then you can hold your head high.
What are some pros and cons of having (or not having) entrepreneurial parents?
“Entrepreneur” is such a fancy title, and certainly not something that was around when my Mom started her various companies years ago. She was just a very hard-working woman, and I am proud to follow in her footsteps. The greatest pro of my Mom being an entrepreneur was that she never once voiced, “Can I do this?,” she just did it. For me, that translates into a similar mindset that I can do anything I set my mind to. If the journey to success is difficult, it will just be all the sweeter when we get there!
What are your short/long term goals?
Our short-term goals are to raise a seed round, and use those funds to bring equity crowdfunding onto our platform. So many early-stage startups can’t find critical funding to grow their business, and they are already asking us for equity crowdfunding to augment our existing reward-based crowdfunding. Our long-term goals are to build a supportive community where new and old companies use PieShell to really test drive their ideas with our crowd, so they don’t have to do all the work to grow their own audience. Our network will be waiting to find amazing and cool new foodtech and CPG (consumer packaged goods) items, and will support the companies that are bringing these products to the world.